Actor Dixon was a Hawaii broadcaster, too
Ivan Dixon died Sunday in North Carolina at age 76, after a hemorrhage and complications from kidney failure.
An Associated Press obituary noted his career as an award-winning stage, TV and film actor, a director and producer, best known for the role of "Kinchloe" in the 1960s TV series "Hogan's Heroes."
But what most of the world did not know about him was that he built the first radio station licensed to Lanai City, Hawaii -- KONI-FM 104.7. It was the first Hawaii radio station to stream online.
As president of Dixon Broadcasting Inc., he obtained a Federal Communications Commission construction permit to build the station in 1990 and signed KONI on around 1993 with long-time Maui broadcaster LD Reynolds as its morning man. Reynolds is largely credited with getting KONI on the 'Net.
Dixon told your columnist, in a long-ago interview for another publication, that he built the station on Maui because he could not secure a site on Lanai. Nevertheless, its signal covers all of Maui county, said current owner, George Hochman.
Owning a radio station was Dixon's "lifelong dream ... he was fascinated by the power of radio," said former employee Michael McCartney. He describes Dixon as "the best boss and biggest supporter of my career in film and broadcasting, outside of my parents."
They met in the late 1980s when Dixon was directing Hawaii-based shows including "Magnum P.I." "He fell in love with Hawaii," McCartney said.
Dixon hired McCartney as KONI's afternoon drive-time personality and music director in the late 1990s and he still works at KONI and other Maui stations.
Former KONI intern Joe King said, "He gave me an opportunity to get into radio when no one else would." Dixon was so humble, "I had no idea about his previous work in film until much later." King is now a producer at KHVH-AM 830 in Honolulu.
In addition to the radio company, Dixon also established movie production business, Dixon Productions Inc., in Hawaii in 1998, but fell ill and split his time between Hawaii and California.
In 2002, Dixon sold KONI for $1.15 million to Kauai-based broadcaster George Hochman, to whom he had previously leased the station.
"I don't think he really wanted to sell the station, but he had to do it for health reasons," Hochman said. Despite "seller's remorse," Dixon was "always happy to see that the station was doing well."
Dixon is survived by his wife of 53 years, Berlie, daughter Doris and son Alan. Sons Ivan Nathaniel Dixon IV and N'Gai Christopher Dixon, preceded him in death. Also according to AP, Dixon had requested there be no memorial or funeral.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org